The visit of Lowland League Tranent Juniors in the South Challenge Cup attracted Millfield’s biggest crowd of the season on a sunny October day last Saturday. What was noticeable that unlike in many previous derby clashes, the home support outnumbered the visitors and were certainly more vociferous.
There was disappointment in the home ranks when last seasons top scorer, Guy McGarry, failed a fitness test and on loan Spartans striker, Joe Tait, made his home debut as did midfield man Ethan Williams. There was also a first start of the season for Euan Watson. The home side fell behind in the 10th minute as Tranent exerted early pressure but the home side gradually worked there way into the match and it was the Tranent goal that was under pressure as the half progressed. Good play by Watson on the left created an opening and the equaliser duly arrived when Auriemma and Wardlaw combined to set up Ross King for a neat finish. Shortly after Wardlaw saw his shot beat goalkeeper Mason but rebound from the post just eluding a home player. The Hi Hi’s probably deserved to have led at the break but it was the visitors who were in the ascendancy in the early stages of the second half but the home defence held firm as they faced a number of corners. As in the first half Haddington defended well and the introduction of Dylan Tait increased the home attacking threat. Williams came close to putting the Hi Hi’s ahead when his header struck the top of the bar. The visitors edged ahead in the 84th minute when Reid scored from close range but the Hi Hi’s hit back in the 90th minute when Ali Simpson turned in a cross from Ross King.
And so into extra time and just when it look like the first half was going to end goalless, Tranent hit their tiring opponents with a quick double. Craig Barr headed them ahead and within a minute Reid broke through to add a fourth. The home side came close to reducing the deficit in the final fifteen minutes but there were no more goals.
Almost 1000 spectators have attended the last two matches at Millfield which is an encouraging statistic for everyone involved with the Hi Hi’s.